HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)--Traffic is flowing freely along Meridian Street today, and retailers and motorists are welcoming a greatly improved roadway. The updated segment of Meridian, from Pratt Avenue to Oakwood Drive, is designed to be pedestrian and bike friendly.
“This is the road concept we are working toward in many of our urban corridors,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “This design is technically called a Road Diet. We reduce the number of lanes, which improves safety and makes way for other uses such as cycling and pedestrian traffic.”
Along with wider sidewalks, landscaping strips are also part of Meridian’s makeover. The City’s goal is to promote better land use and to encourage retail development in an inviting setting that encourages a live, work, play and learn environment.
“This section of Meridian has an eclectic array of businesses, and I invite everyone to come down here, take a walk and see what is offered,” said Mayor Battle. “We have a theater, schools, upscale retail stores like Brooks & Collier, craftsmen shops, restaurants such as Granville’s BBQ, a new thrift store that benefits local non-profits, renovations to Lincoln Mill, and longstanding establishments such as Mullins Rental and ABC Supply.”
The $3.16 million project took 18 months to construct and completes phase two of Huntsville’s Meridian Street corridor plan for downtown revitalization. Phase one streamlined and improved Meridian from the Lincoln and Monroe Street intersection to Pratt Avenue. Construction was funded in an 80/20 partnership with the Alabama Department of Transportation, with the State paying the largest share of the cost. Total cost for the two segments is $8 million.
“We are extremely proud to upgrade this major roadway in our downtown north Huntsville corridor,” said Director of Urban Development Shane Davis. “We wanted to transition this roadway from one with an industrial attitude to one that invites urban renewal.”
In the coming months, Davis says a similar two-phase project will take place on Church Street. In this case, the City and State will redesign and improve the Church Street corridor from Monroe to Oakwood Avenue. Phase one will begin at Pratt and extend north to Oakwood and phase two will upgrade Church from Monroe to Pratt. Total cost of the project is expected to be about $24 million.